Drawing by Judith Wolfe
Wendy Howe

Two Poems

      Detail Of A Scene On Conversation

      I paint her
      through the brushstrokes of my father's voice.
      She came he said to return a tool;
      a wrench bearing the slush of time and decay.
      Rusted steel, tarnished strength,
      she encompassed what she felt.
      The instrument was useless,
      yet, belonged at the entrance of the barn
      where they conversed.
      Here, it would be admitted
      to an asylum of warped floorboards
      and sunlight wailing in sheets
      from corner to pole,
      while mute gears yearned to be greased,
      touched by hands shadowing the harvest.
      This would be its home,
      a broken-down dream
      that once housed a bountiful share
      of engine and crop.
      Now that shelter framed her,
      in a slant of light
      piercing the tin roof,
      the sad ache of bone and wood.

      Fading timbers of maroon
      held dark against the paler sheen of woman.
      She stood creased in red hair
      and denim speckled light blue
      like eggs of nesting water fowl.
      Softly, humbly she stooped down
      and placed the wrench at the feet
      of her mentor ,
      a man in a wheelchair.
      She had given him back,
      a grip on the past,
      a fallen apprentice ---


      Over the water
      trees slide open.
      their parasol of shade.
      Beneath a nude girl stands
      wet from a swim
      and whitening their shadow
      of dark lace.
      her long braid sinks slowly
      into the green haze
      of summer.
      On its soft-bristled tip
      a moth bobs
      keenly aware
      the past is floating
      in shallows of grass.
      There, shining stalks embalm
      whispers of man and woman
      who made love at twilight;
      who glimpsed their daughter's face
      along the cheekbone
      of a porcelain moon.

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